The other day I was sitting in a group talking about mobile phone calls.
Every single person expressed frustration about the number of fraudulent phone calls that ring up on any given day. While the phone companies, AT&T for instance, now identifies possible spam calls, there are still far more calls that are not identified.
This a frustrating 21st Century problem and just about everyone in the conversation had the same strategy. No one answers the phone unless the number is recognized or the caller is in contacts and thereby identified by name. Everyone assumes that a legitimate caller will leave a message. Continue reading “Phone Calls Are Becoming Intimidating”→
“It’s time to move past fake news,” suggests an August 30, 2019 editorial in the Toronto Star, which explains the need to amend or change the terminology, instead labeling made-up information as disinformation. The article points out that, while there has always been made up or exaggerated information, our contemporary digital world provides easy and efficient ways to spread disinformation.
Fake news is a misnomer. There is no “news” in it. And the term has become mere shorthand to dismiss anything with which the user of the phrase disagrees.
Quoting scholars including Kathleen Hall Jamieson, at the University of Pennsylvania, and David Runciman at Cambridge University, the Toronto Star editorial writers note that the digital revolution allows people to target various groups with disinformation. Moreover, the digital precision and speed of social media make it easier to challenge the cultural norms of democracy. Sometimes these challenges are designed to make people understand even less about democratic institutions. Continue reading “The Word Fake Really Can’t Describe the Word News”→
After six or seven years of using a free email account, I decided to switch to one that I pay for, one that does not share my data or track what I do.
I made the decision after I looked at my Google purchase list that goes back for years. These notations include hotels, restaurants, transportation tickets, clothes, books and just about everything else that I bought online. Looking over the list, I observed that it was pretty easy to monitor the past few years of my life just by looking through my purchases. I had no privacy.
One of my friends said it best when he commented, “When something is free, you and your data are the product.” So that is when I decided to switch. I do not want to be the product. I am tired of serving as the product.
I looked at half-a-dozen different programs, all of which emphasize privacy and freedom from tracking, and I chose one that several people I know have used. Then I got out my credit card, paid for a year and — wonder of wonders — the charge did not show up on Google Purchases.
Since then I’ve spent time moving things over to my new email system. This includes just about everything that asks me to sign up with my email address and probably anything that relates to business.
Probably no device has become as frustrating for teachers as the smartphone. Many educators, whether they teach in middle school, high school, or college express a sense of frustration about the amount of time their students spend glancing down at their mobile phones when they are supposed to be paying attention to what is going on in the classroom
Administrators at San Mateo High School, about 20 miles away from San Francisco, have decided that student phones will be locked up during school hours. At the start of the day students insert their devices into a pouch that closes with a school lock. The kids keep the bags with them, and at the end of the academic day, the administrators unlock them.
The goal of this school’s policy is to decrease the student distraction and to stop students’ habit of looking down at their phones every few minutes. The above link includes an interesting NBC news story.
It will be interesting to see if other schools develop similar policies.
At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?
Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.
Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.
When we use Chrome, Google’s tracking cookies follow us everywhere, and the video below perfectly illustrates how these trackers operate in our digital lives. It was produced by Washington Post technology columnists, Geoffrey A. Fowler and James Pace-Cornsilk.
Enjoy watching, but also ask yourself how much of your personal data and your daily activities you want to share with these trackers? Moreover, how much of your children’s data do you want these cookies to collect? In a connected world, digital life is complicated as is personal privacy.
FYI, I have stopped using Chrome completely (I use Duck Duck Go as a browser), and I am migrating to an email that I pay a small fee for each month. To learn more about what I use you may want to read two past MediaTech Parenting posts.
Today everyone needs to get better at fact-checking –a critical digital world skill. Interestingly, as we parents and educators help young people learn to distinguish what is true from what is not, we quickly discover that many adults need as much or more practice than the kids.
Online games and simulation activities can help people supercharge their fact-checking and evaluation abilities and even have a bit of fun doing it. Recently the weekly Poynter fact-checking newsletter, Factually, featured a list of seven of these games that can help people fine-tune their content evaluation skills. While each of the games is different from the others, all of them aim to help individuals gain the confidence and competence to determine what is true and what is misinformation or disinformation. All can be good teaching tools.
I recently wrote a blog post about Factitious, a game that is included in Poynter’s list, but the other six games look like they have enormous potential when it comes to helping kids and adults practice and understand a lot more about the need to fact-check and how to go about it.